An Irish immigrant lands in 1950s Brooklyn, where she quickly falls into a romance with a local. When her past catches up with her, however, she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within.
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In late 1951, Eilis Lacey, a young Irish girl, emigrates to Brooklyn. Sponsored by Father Flood, a priest from her native town Enniscorthy, she is assured to find a full-time job there. But the early days are tough, seasickness being soon replaced by loneliness and homesickness, two feelings all the more acutely felt by Eilis for having had to leave behind her widowed mother and her dear sister Rose. She nevertheless little by little manages to find her footing by adapting to her job as a salesgirl, by studying bookkeeping at Brooklyn College as well as with a little help from both Father Flood and Mrs. Kehoe, the owner of the boarding school she now lives in. And not only does graduation follow but love shows its face in Tony, an Italian-American plumber, full of adoration and respect for her. They end up marrying, although keeping the thing secret. It is at that point that tragedy strikes inciting Eilis to return to Enniscorthy to support her mother morally. And there a strange ... Written by
Julie Walters claims her character is reminiscent of her real-life aunt. John Crowley offered the role to Walters because, among other things, he knew of her Irish descent; "I knew Julie had an Irish mother and I had a suspicion that she would know that woman inside out, and of course she did. She knew who she was, right down to what her hair should look like and what she should dress like. Her accent's impeccable and of course she's a hysterically funny actress, but here she's doing it in a very real way. It's beautifully played." See more »
A car seen in the movie twice is a 1954 Kaiser Manhattan; the movie is set in 1951-2. See more »
Miss Kelly wants to talk to you later.
Not if what you're going to say will cause trouble for me in some way or another.
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What a great film can do to a seemingly ordinary character
Brooklyn is a film about Eilis, who crosses the Atlantic to America in the 1950s. She is a mildly career-motivated young Irish woman who is handed a dream opportunity without ever asking for it. Contrary to what typical immigrant protagonists are like, she neither really works her way up to success nor once finds herself in a life-and-death situation. Rather, this film shows us that a woman of just a usual background can tell an important story that is surprisingly relevant to us all.
The main contributor to that surprise is the lead actress, Saoirse Ronan, who plays her role meticulously while also constantly owning the tone of the film. Her delicate and sincere portrayal makes all Eilis's issues, however selfish or insignificant they may seem at first, materialize in your mind, and makes you hope that her pain will somehow ease. Already a one-time Oscar nominee, Ronan reaffirms her acting strength with this exceptional performance. Of all emerging young adult lead actresses, she is likely the most charismatic one in 5 years since Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone.
From start to finish, Eilis feels just like a girl-next-door. That homey feeling extends to Emory Cohen's Tony, an Italian plumber she meets in the New World. With their small height difference, she almost towers over him in her shoes as they stroll outside, which, helped by their natural chemistry, gives them the authenticity of a couple that you might actually know in real life, as opposed to one of Hollywood's ideal.
This film is a remedy for anyone who is losing faith in good filmmaking. It is a splendid reminder that you can tell a great story without resorting to excessive twists and effects. With the remarkable performances from the entire cast, there is hardly a dull minute in the film, and it only gets more interesting towards the end. Speaking of the end, Eilis's tips to a new immigrant she meets at the end still hold very true today. They are not only the best advice that you could ever hear from anyone, but also evidence that America is and has always been the land of opportunity.
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